Theory refers to a framework/model for observing and comprehending that shapes both what people perceive, as well as how they perceive it. Theoretical models or frameworks are designed to predict, explain, and comprehend phenomena; in many cases, they are formulated to challenge and encompass existing knowledge within the parameters of serious bounding conventions. Theory(s) enable researchers to establish links between the theoretical and the actual; the pragmatic and the hypothetical, observational accounts and thought statements. In research, theory predicts, as well as explains, how various variables in a research relate. Additionally it organizes the ideas in a research, while at the same time guiding research. Theory guides research in various ways. For instance, theory structures what we look at, how we look at it, and what we think of it. It offers abstract concepts and leads us to the important and relevant questions; thus, it can be said that theory helps in the formulation of research questions, which guide the research. Subsequently, theory enables researchers to connect one study to a large base of existing knowledge, as well as help them make sense of the research data collected; particularly, increases their consciousness of interconnections and of the overall importance of collected data. Evidence and facts from various source in their abstract forms have no meaning unless they are brought together in a conceptual or theoretical framework (Fawcett & Downs, 2006, p.45). The strength of theory increases with an increase in the amount of supporting evidence gathered. This is because such evidence enables theory to offer the context for making predictions and inferences.
It is important to note that the relationship between research and theory is a dialectic a transaction in which theory determines what questions a research will answer, what data will be collected, as well as what methods will be used; and research, through its findings, offer challenges to existing and accepted theories. In this regard, research is considered as being neither more nor less than just a vehicle for the development of theory. Thus, research contributes to theory by gathering the data necessary for the advancement of the theory this is true even if the aim of the research is to test a theory or to generate a theory (Fawcett & Downs, 2006, p.57).
In the study done by Anne M. Liljenstrand and Delbert M. Nebeker, Coaching Services: A Look at Coaches, Clients, and Practices, the theory used frame the study was Hollands theory of vocational personalities. This theory was created by John Holland on the basis of his work and experience as a vocational counselor. The initial iteration of Hollands theory, which emerged in the late 1950s, focused on the goal of finding compatibility and balance between personality and environment. However, the theory has over the years evolved through John Holland, the original creator, as well as through other scholars. The original theory, although, provides a comprehension of people and their environments in a vocational perspective. According to Holland, people fit into six different types, which represent their distinct values and interests. Further, Holland asserts that, environments can similarly, be divided into six groups that are similar to the six types that represent people's distinct values and interests. Consequently, Holland opines that people often look for environments that complement or offer balance with regards to their type or subtype. Therefore, in cases where the environment does not offer balance or complement the person's type or subtype, then, change will definitely occur. A person will either take on values or interests from the environment or the person will seek out another environment that will fit them better (Anne M. Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008).
The six theme or type identifies by John Hollands theory include realistic, artistic, conventional, investigative, enterprising, and social; often represented by the acronym RIASEC, thus the theory being referred to as RIASEC theory of careers. The six themes or type describes peoples personality and environment for a career or a vocation. The study by Holland found that stability and satisfaction take place for an individual when the environment complements their personality or where personality and environment match this he referred to as congruency. In case the environment and personality do not match, then incongruity will result in change. A person could attempt to either adapt to the environment, or he/she could altogether leave the environment for one that is a better fit to his/her personality. Holland (1997) attempts to explain vocational or career behavior and offers tangible concepts to help people chose or select jobs, alter careers, or achieve vocational satisfaction. Hollands theory enables us to envisage the result of person-environment contact. It also offers explanations for three important questions: what environmental and personal attributes lead to satisfying vocational or career decisions; what environmental and personal attributes lead to stability and change in the level and kind of work an individual does over time; and what are the most effective ways for offering assistance to individuals with vocational or career problems.
Liljenstrand & Nebeker (2008) identifies that coaching, as a profession, has in the last decade grown rapidly as a way to help people improve their personal and/or professional success. The authors find out that coaching is becoming more readily and widely available, and is also being offered by a myriad of professionals with diverse backgrounds. The authors undertake the study to understand coaching as a profession and learn more about coaches with regards to their various academic backgrounds, as well as how they differ in their approach to coaching. It is clear that the main purpose of research by (Anne M. Liljenstrand & Nebeker, 2008)...
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